Real Junk Food Project burgled for second time in less than a week

The Real Junk Food Project - the pay-as-you-feel social supermarket - has been burgled for the second time in six days.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 3:47 pm
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 3:54 pm
The Real Junk Food Project's Founder Adam Smith.

The project's Kindness Sharehouse in Wakefield will be closed for the foreseeable future as they are 'unable to secure the building at all and cannot provide the services our staff and volunteers need every day'.

Thieves broke into the warehouse on Sunday, taking laptops and cash - but failed to take the safe.

But they returned overnight on Thursday and took the safe containing £200 and all the organisation's keys.

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It means they will be unable to use their van to deliver their Freegan boxes - which can feed a family of four for a week - to families who need them over the Easter weekend.

Rachel Trafford, who works for the project, said: "It's just ridiculous. They have come back tooled up to take the safe.

"It is really upsetting. There are a lot of people who rely on what we do, so it's about them not us."

They are hoping to reopen early next week but this may be delayed due to the Easter weekend.

The locks were changed after Sunday's break-in.

A volunteer arrived to find the locks broken and an office chair outside first thing on Friday morning.

Rachel said they would be taking a close look at how to keep the project secure in the future, but said it would not change how they operate.

"We are not going to change what we do," she added. "We are here to serve the community we work in.

"We are not going to bend to a very small minority of people who are determined to do something negative."

West Yorkshire Police praised the project's 'compassionate response' after the first break-in after they offered those responsible the chance to meet the team and volunteer.

Rachel said the project had again been inundated with offers of support.

The project posted on Facebook: "All volunteers and staff will be working round the clock to reopen.

"We apologise for the inconvenience. After the break in on Sunday, the community support outpouring we received was absolutely incredible.

"We would never expect a single donation or offer of help but anything anyone can give would be so appreciated - we need it now more than ever before."

The project began in 2013 with a pay-as-you-feel cafe in Armley, Leeds.

It served meals produced from food that was past its sell-by date or had been declared surplus, but was otherwise safe to eat.